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The Government moves forward with the start-up of the Science Ministry and National Research and Development Agency

The new Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Ministry will become operational at the end of this year. This follows the submission to the Comptroller’s Office of the decrees that set the staffing for the Office of the Science Undersecretary and National Research and Development Agency.

After President Sebastián Piñera signed the two Decrees with Force of Law (DFL), they were submitted to the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic this morning. This represents a milestone in the process of setting up the Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Ministry and sets the dates for the launch of Office of the Science Undersecretary and the National Research and Development Agency.

The institutional process has been led by Science Undersecretary Carolina Torrealba. This morning she and Minister Andrés Couve met with the stakeholders involved in the various stages of this work.

Minister Couve highlighted that this milestone has been reached one year after the passage of the law to create the Science Ministry. “We wanted to share this moment with everyone who was involved in the drafting of this bill, in its passage through Congress and in all of the entities that are transitioning towards the new institutional structure. Today we are celebrating the first step towards launching this ministry. It reflects the government’s commitment to putting science, technology and innovation in a prominent place, which is necessary for the development of our country.”

Science Undersecretary Carolina Torrealba added, “this process needed time to mature and now we have the shared challenge of watching the blossoming of the institutional structure and everything that it will promote in Chile. August 13 is a symbolic day on which we want to celebrate and highlight the work done by those who came before us in this process. We also want to share the fact that the decrees that will give life to the Science Ministry have been submitted to the Comptroller’s Office, and the ministry will be operational during the last quarter of this year. The new National Research and Development Agency, which will be the successor to Conicyt, will open on January 1, 2020.”

Former Conicyt President Mario Hamuy welcomed this effort and the progress made towards opening the ministry. “I want to highlight the work that Minister Couve and Undersecretary Torrealba have done over the past eight months. Those of us who have dedicated our professional lives to science can only be delighted with the progress that has been made towards creating this ministry, particularly in regard to their capacity to strengthen the institutional structure with new instruments from other ministries because many of us argued that this was necessary. I hope that we will soon be in a place where we can begin to talk seriously about what type of science we need for the Chile of the future and, based on that, how we are going to finance it.”

Astronomer and National Science Award recipient María Teresa Ruiz praised the initiative. “I am here to celebrate one more step towards the dream that many of us had; those of us who believe that Chile deserves to have a Science Ministry that can help the country move forward. All of this has been done in such a well-organized and smooth manner that there have been few complaints from scientists. And we scientists are rarely 100% satisfied. I believe that the fact that it hasn’t been rushed and there haven’t been significant complaints from scientists means that it has been managed very well. Also, achieving this within a year, with the Office of the Science Undersecretary almost ready to open its doors, represents great progress.”

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